MUMBAI: Resident doctors, who had resorted to protests after incidents of patient’s relatives beating them, declined to back-off even after directives by the Bombay High Court and assurances by Chief
Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday. The medical professionals are now insisting on a written assurance from the government.
The Bombay High Court in its bid to end the four-day stir by resident doctors directed them to resume work immediately, while Fadnavis mooted a panel to resolve security issues in State-run
hospitals, as the stir affected health services and put hundreds of patients to hardship.
The court observed that “medical attention” cannot wait, adding that the profession of doctors is so “sacred” that they cannot afford to go on strike. The court also asked the State to not take punitive action against the doctors if they resume work.
Fadnavis, meanwhile, made a statement in the Assembly on Thursday and appealed to the doctors to call off their strike. The government is ready to recruit an additional 1,100 security guards within a fortnight and a legal cell would be formed to provide free legal aid to doctors in case of assault against doctors, the CM said.
Union Health Minister J P Nadda also joined Fadnavis in appealing to the resident doctors to get back to work and asked states to take measures to improve the security of doctors. Members of the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) had a meeting with CM Fadnavis, which was positive, said medical education minister Girish Mahajan. However, the agitation has not been called off.
The doctors, unfazed by the government’s warning of suspension and pay cut, abstained from work for the fourth day on Thursday.
On Wednesday night, a woman doctor of the civic-run Sion hospital here was allegedly beaten up by the relatives of a patient, which prompted the protesting medicos to adopt a more strident stand.
Nearly 4,000 resident doctors are staying away from work since Monday, demanding enhanced security in the wake of a string of attacks on doctors by patients’ relatives at government hospitals across the State.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarni that resumed hearing on a petition filed by activist Afak Mandaviya seeking action against the protesting doctors, said, “We understand that the doctors are working in strained and horrible conditions sometimes, but we request them to resume work immediately.”
“It is very painful to see patients and their relatives waiting outside hospitals. What if your (doctors) relatives face such a situation,” Justice Chellur said.
After the HC’s direction and the CM’s appeal, the representatives of the protesting doctors went into a huddle to discuss the situation and the steps to be taken thereof. At the time of going to press, no decision was made and the doctors said they want the assurances in writing.